Surveying the Landscape

McKinsey recently published the results of its third annual survey on “How Companies are Benefiting from Web 2.0.” It’s well worth a read. Instead of trying to summarize it or hit all its main points, I just want to concentrate on a couple elements I found particularly interesting.

Internal uses are more popular and powerful than external ones. Adoption rates were highest for internal uses than either customer or partner one. Across all industries and geographies, the percentage of adopters reporting measurable benefits from internal uses was again higher than for either of the other two.

There’s no single ‘killer app.’ 65% reported that they were using 2.0 technologies internally, but no single technology was in use at more than 35% of respondents.  Wikis, blogs, and social networking tools were the most popular 2.0 tools, with 35%, 34%, and 32% internal usage rates, respectively.

Respondents report concrete and large benefits. Among internal users, for example, 68% of respondents reported ‘increased speed of access to knowledge,’ and the median estimated improvement was 30%. For ‘increasing employee satisfaction’ the corresponding figures were 35% and 20%, and for ‘increasing number of successful innovations for new products or services’ they were 25% and 20%. For customer-related purposes, 43% reported ‘increasing customer satisfaction,’ with a median estimated improvement of 20%. It’s important to stress that these are subjective and unverified estimates given in at least some cases by 2.0 enthusiasts. It’s also fair to point out that they’re pretty big numbers.

Usage is increasing, and so is investment.  Internal, customer, and partner adoption rates all increased in both 2008 and 2009. And 79% of respondents said that their future investments in 2.0 tech-based efforts would be comparable to or greater than their recent ones, and only 6% said that they were planning to decrease.

I find a lot to be encouraged about in this survey, and few if any warning signs. Do you agree?  What do you see in the data, and what conclusions do you take away from McKinsey’s work here? Leave a comment, please, and let us know.